—The announcement arrived this morning, with Disney slotting six 'Works films per year, as per its usual. The first will arrive next year under the Touchstone banner, and Disney has committed to fronting P&A costs that provided one of several sticking points in the ongoing negotiations with its previous suitors at Universal.
—Regarding that relationship, Kim Masters's Daily Beast survey notes swaths of scorched earth trailing Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider after months of failed negotiations with Uni boss Ron Meyer. Aside from the outstanding $250 million loan that DreamWorks needed to close the deal (which GE offered it after first denying it) and the dearth of HBO slots for DreamWorks films (which Universal had withheld throughout the process before finally offering two of its annual six), there was Meyer's unhappy discovery that the 'Works had in fact been secretly dealing with Disney:
When [Meyer] found out that DreamWorks was in fact talking to Disney, he got on the phone with DreamWorks chief executive Stacey Snider and said she and Spielberg had behaved "like pigs" (as has been reported elsewhere). Other words, like "despicable and deplorable," have also been used.
—Who even cares about Meyer at this point, asks David Poland: "If that's DreamWorks' biggest problem in the next years, they will be dancing in the streets." And anyway, maybe Universal — which already has Brian Grazer's four films per year — is better off standing alone without having to tend to DreamWorks' release slate as well. Cheer up, Ron!
—Plus there's still the matter of DreamWorks Animation, whose industrial traction is improving along with its stock price. The NYT today has both long and short views, neither of which come close to hinting where it might end up in a climate where desperate studios need the soundest cash machine they can get their hands on. And last we checked, Pixar wasn't going anywhere at Disney.
—And just our own nagging question around Defamer HQ: Does DreamWorks' entrance at Disney mean Miramax's eventual exit? And if so, who gets Scott Rudin? We be happy to temporarily set him up here if necessary; the basement cubicles are actually pretty spacious. Just let us know.